Falling in Love, Slowly

It took a number of visits over many months before our critic tumbled for Quince

By the time of my last visit, with Peter, who'd enjoyed a dinner there a few weeks earlier (especially a starter of oxtail terrine), I felt happy and confident. And we had another superb meal, starting with ivory spears of asparagus alla Fiorentina, which I thought meant with spinach but which turned out to be topped with pancetta and shards of pecorino, and a daringly bitter sformato made with wild arugula, softer and puffier than the nettle version and perfect with a thin white wine from the Alto Adige region. (From the first, I was impressed with Quince's wine list, which features an ample number of wines under $30; after trying several previously unfamiliar Italian bottles, I found it as assured and confident in its choices as the pasta preparations.) We continued with fat fettuccine, mottled green with nettles, in a pool of pungent olive oil, and gnocchi, simply sauced with butter and peas. Peter, a dumpling fancier, said, "These gnocchi are ethereal." If they are on the menu (which, I'm told, changes by as much as 70 percent from day to day) the next time I go, I will not be able to resist them.

Living Room: Quince's creamy décor made 
us want to move in.
Anthony Pidgeon
Living Room: Quince's creamy décor made us want to move in.

Location Info



470 Pacific
San Francisco, CA 94133

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: North Beach/ Chinatown


Nettle sformato $9

Tajarin with sage $14

Garganelli with prosciutto and peas $16

Gnocchi with butter and peas $16

Squab al mattone $27

Spring lamb $28

Cherry crostata $10.50


Open for dinner nightly from 5:30 to 10 (Friday and Saturday until 10:30)

Reservations accepted

Wheelchair accessible

Parking: valet $8, otherwise difficult

Muni: 1, 31, 38

Noise level: moderate

1701 Octavia (at Bush)

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We shared a plate of tender roast leg of pork with long-cooked green beans and scarlet turnips. And then Peter had a wedge of nectarine crostata with toasted almond ice cream; I had three scoops of Spring Lady peach ice cream with a dab of softly whipped cream and a few toasted almonds; and we floated out into the spring night. I remembered, driving home, how many other restaurants, including both Chez Panisse and Oliveto, had worked their way into my affections over time -- and now I can't envision the Bay Area scene without them. Michael Tusk is a worthy successor to his mentors. The dreamy restaurant he and Lindsay have created features a cuisine that's all his own.

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